(TNS) — Clinton City Schools continues to make every effort to integrate digital learning into every classroom by keeping technology as up-to-date as possible.

As part of those efforts, the Clinton City Board of Education approved the purchase of 210 new Chromebooks and storage carts to be divided between three schools.

John Lowe, director of technology, made the recommendation to the board to approve the procurement of an additional 210 devices and seven storage carts for students to use to enhance the ability of teachers to leverage updated digital content and enhanced teaching practices including blending instruction that combines face-to-face and online activities.

“This purchase will help alleviate current access issues and allow us to discard more of the oldest and most unreliable computers in the district,” Lowe explained.

The new equipment will cost the system a total of $58,961.28, which includes the cost of the Chromebooks, storage carts and a three year extended warranty.

Just last year, the board approved a $182,000 purchase of 600 Chromebooks and 30 mobile carts. Those devices were divided among the five schools in the district, allowing for enough devices to have a ratio of two students per Chromebook.

From this year’s purchase, L.C. Kerr is slated to receive one cart with 30 units, Butler Avenue will receive three carts with 30 units each and Sunset Avenue will receive three cards with 30 units each.

Additionally, last year, Lowe requested the board allocate funds to each school to refresh outdated student digital devices on a rolling basis, starting with one school per year beginning 2017-2018 to spread the cost an time allocation over multiple fiscal years.

“In the summer of 2016, the technology department discarded 36 of the oldest desktop computers that were still in use in classrooms,” Lowe shared. “These units were predominantly Dell Dimension series computers that were originally manufactured in 2003 and 2004. These devices no longer support modern operating systems, modern networking capabilities, cannot be upgraded, and were deemed end of life. We have plans to replace the remainder of these units with devices shifted from labs where new desktops were procured through the use of CTE funds by May of 2017.”

Clinton City Schools became a Google LEA in the spring of 2015. Since then, Lowe said all teacher and student storage has been transitioned to Google Drive and many teachers are leveraging the power of the Google educational platform to transform teaching and learning in their classroom.

“We continue to offer professional development on the use of the Google platform and related tools to support our staff in this effort,” Lowe said. “Clinton City Schools completed a purchase of 600 Chromebooks in the spring of 2016 and these devices have served well as teachers make the transition to digital teaching and learning strategies and content.”

The purchase of the new Chromebooks takes Clinton City Schools one step closer to accomplishing the system’s goal of having all devices the average age of six years old or less.

According to Lowe, Clinton City Schools currently does not own enough digital devices to test all students online at one site in the required time frame without borrowing devices from other schools or displacing students and teachers in classes where the curriculum requires access to digital devices.

Lowe said current testing windows required for state accountability testing measures hamper Clinton City’s ability to test all students online at the close of the school year when testing windows align for all grade levels.

“This purchase is in alignment with the North Carolina Learning Plan,” Lowe shared with the board. “We are trying to update our equipment based on the greatest need.”

The expected life of a Chromebook, Lowe said, is about five years, but some have been known to last longer. The purchase does include an extended warranty, at an additional cost of $7,363.

“We are very enthusiastic about the opportunity to purchase the Chromebooks for the students of Clinton City Schools,” Blount stated. “This purchase will allow for teachers and students to have an increase in access to technology and interaction within the classrooms. In being a Google District, although many options were considered, the choice for Chromebooks was an obvious one. The impact to serve the most students was a driving factor.”

Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.

©2017 The Sampson Independent (Clinton, N.C.), distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.